Arkansas Economic Development Commission

A Couple’s Move to Arkansas Helps Pay Off $60,000 Debt

October 25, 2017 

AEDC A couple's move to Arkansas helps pay off debtMoving to Arkansas can really pay off. At least that was the case for one couple. Cyndi and Cameron Dieterich recently moved from metropolitan Seattle to northwest Arkansas. But, it wasn’t exactly an easy decision in the beginning. The couple had to weigh their perceived negatives of giving up the quality of life they had become accustomed to living in a big city, such as access to arts and culture, with the positives of living in a smaller city with a better cost of living. 

What they may not have realized at the time is that they would have access to a thriving arts scene in northwest Arkansas. The area is home to the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which has become one of the top museums in the world. Northwest Arkansas has become a destination for cultural events, the arts, entertainment and so much more in the last decade. 

The couple had $60,000 in combined consumer debt. With an additional $76,000 in student loans and a mortgage, their net worth was negative. The couple discovered that Arkansas could offer a fast financial recovery due to its low cost of living and affordable housing. It ranked as the fourth-least expensive state to live in 2017, according to CNBC's annual Top States for Business study.

Affordable housing is one of the biggest factors in the cost-of-living difference. A report from the personal finance site explored the median property listing prices on Zillow to calculate how much home $300,000 can buy in each U.S. state.  The Arkansas housing costs came out to $88 per square foot. That would mean that $300,000 buys approximately 3,390 square feet, making the state one of the most affordable places to live in the nation.

In the end, the perks of living in Arkansas outweighed big-city life, and Cyndi accepted a new position servicing her company’s biggest buyer, Walmart. Arkansas's affordability helped the Dieterichs achieve financial success. Despite the challenges of a move, heath-care costs, unemployment and child expenses, Cameron and Cyndi still managed to increase their net worth that first year in Arkansas. Today, their finances are even stronger. The Dieterichs have eliminated all $60,000 of their consumer debt and are steadily decreasing their outstanding student loans. Their new, cheaper location also helped the couple triple their savings account.

The affordability of living in Arkansas is bringing more and more business and opportunity to the state. It is also becoming one of the best places to work for millennials with startup companies, both small and large, moving to the area. Thanks to a low cost of living and a high quality of life, The Natural State is one of the best places in the country to relocate for families and professionals from a variety of industries.